Concepts of International Relations, for Students and Other Smarties

Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 2019, 192 p.

Concepts of International Relations, for Students and Other Smarties is not a stereotypical textbook, but an instructive, entertaining, and motivating introduction to the field of International Relations (IR). Rather than relying on figures or tables, this book piques the reader’s interest with a pithy narrative that presents apposite nutshell examples, stresses historical breaks, and throws in the odd pun. Based on Iver B. Neumann’s introductory lectures to his students at the London School of Economics, this book is proven for the classroom.

In a relaxed style, Neumann introduces the long-term historical emergence of concepts such as state (European), state (global), empire, nonstate agents, foreign policy, state system, nationalism, globalization, security, international society, great powers, diplomacy, war and peace, balance of power, international law, power and sovereignty, intervention, gender, and class. He demonstrates how such phenomena have been understood in different ways over time. First, the reader learns how the use of concepts is an integral part of politics. Second, the reader sees how social change has worked in the past, and is working now. Third, the book demonstrates how historical and social context matters in ongoing international relations.



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